Lamb House garden notes

The path and hedges at Lamb House

Welcome to the Garden at Lamb House. We know very little about the history of the garden, but we know that it was cherished by both Henry James and EF Benson.  We know that the produce grown by their gardener Al was much prized, so we have continued to grow fruit, vegetables and cut flowers and continue to bring the garden back to life. 

We also know that the Campisis radicans that adorned the south side of the house in James’ time was important, so we have planted a new one to replace what has been lost.   More garden research will be carried out over the coming months before we settle on our ideas for the garden.  It is likely that much will change in the coming years, but in the meantime, we try to provide a tranquil space that makes up in ambience what it loses in horticultural integrity.

Back of the house in the garden
Back of the house in the garden
Back of the house in the garden

At the moment the roses are the highlight of the garden. 

Climbers and Ramblers

  • Large white rambler on Vegetable Garden wall: ‘Rambling Rector’
  • White rambling rose on Rose Garden wall: Rosa rubus
  • Large pink rambler in corner of Rose Garden: ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’
  • Rose with small hips to left of Dining Room door: Rosa banksiae
  • Climber with large yellow flowers next to banksiae: ‘Gardener’s Glory’ 
  • Large pink rambler on Secret Garden wall: ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’

Shrub Roses on courtyard wall border, from left to right

  • ‘Crown Princess Margareta’
  • unknown
  • ‘Eglantyne’
  • ‘Absolutely Fabulous’

The pink roses in the Mulberry Border are ‘Gertrude Jekyll and the roses in the Rose Garden are mostly labelled.  Other roses are yet to be identified – maybe you can help?

Other highlights in the garden include:

  • ‘Yellow Loosestrife’ Lysimachia  punctata.  These spikes of yellow edge the mulberry border and look lovely at this time of year, but beware; it is very invasive!
  • ‘Salsify’ Tragopogon porrifolius.  These Dandelion relatives boast enormous seed heads that resemble huge Dandelion clocks.  They are currently confined to the Rose Garden and they have a striking purple flower that closes up by about 11am, this is followed a few days later by the stunning globe head of seeds which readily drift in the wind and set seed for the following year.  The root of Salsify is edible (and delicious), so it is likely that the forebears of these plants are escapees from the vegetable garden.
  • The Vegetable Garden in general. We are very pleased with our vegetable garden. It has proved to be surprisingly productive; maybe because the sheltering walls and coastal climate warm the soil quickly in spring or maybe because it has been on the same site for more than one hundred years, so the soil is deep and rich.  It certainly grows better vegetables than the cold heavy clay of the surrounding lowlands.  Our only setback has been the pigeons in the peas.

Nb. We are still identifying and cataloguing the plants in the garden, so our plant lists is not yet complete.

We look forward to seeing you soon, Guy, Senior Gardener.